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Post Landers gets landmark win

Thursday January 24, 2008

Andy Landers became just the third women’s basketball coach to win 700 games at a single school on Thursday evening.  With an 82-55 win at Florida, his career mark in Athens is 700-218 (a .763 winning percentage).  By beating Florida, Landers raises his career mark against the Gators to 41-7. He needs just 17 wins for his 800th win as a collegiate head coach.  With 918 Division 1 games under his belt, only three others were faster to 700 wins, and only two others (Pat Summit and Jody Conradt) have done it at the same school.

While the game was significant as an achievement for Landers, it also stood out as Georgia’s most complete effort of the season.  The Lady Dogs were 1-3 on the road this year and had look pretty dreadful in their two SEC road contests to date.  They badly needed a road win and a solid performance to shake off some of the self-doubt that surely creeps in after a few sub-par games away from home.  Against Florida the Lady Dogs took control from the beginning and put together a 22-2 run after the game was tied 6-6.  Ashley Houts scored 21 of her career-high 25 points in the first half, and Tasha Humphrey took over in the second half to finish with 23.

“We were solid from beginning to end,” said Landers postgame.  “We dropped the big hammer on them early…we clicked on both ends.”

Houts had struggled with poor shooting and turnovers in the past couple of games, but she came to play in Gainesville.  “Tonight there was an opportunity for Houts to assert herself, and she did,” said Landers.  Her turnovers were down, and she added six rebounds, six assists, and five steals while shooting 50% from the floor and a perfect 3-of-3 from outside.

“He’s the main reason so many of us chose to come to Georgia, not only now but throughout his career,” Houts said. “To play for him when he won his 700th –  and to play for him every game – is an honor.”

Humphrey had her second-straight impressive performance.  After setting a season high against Alabama, she recorded her second-best output of the season against Florida.  Though sidelined with foul trouble at the end of the first half after scoring a quick 8 points, she poured in 15 in the second half.  Freshman Jasmine Lee was impressive in 11 minutes of relief for Humphrey.

Landers took a moment to reflect on the 700th win.  “The thing that pleases me most is that we’ve been able to do it all at Georgia. We haven’t jumped around. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great people and a lot of great people surrounding me in Athens. That’s what I and my family are most thankful for.”

The Lady Dogs don’t get long to celebrate.  After a day back home in Athens, they’ll head west to play at #11 Oklahoma on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. in front of a national television audience on ESPN2.  Oklahoma is the highest-ranked opponent for Georgia to date this season.  The game will surely be billed as a Tasha Humphrey vs. Courtney Paris showdown; the two have been a couple of the best post players in the nation over the past four seasons.  But in games like this, it’s often the supporting cast that determines the outcome.  Will Houts, Robinson, Darrah, and the others be the difference in a game with big national significance?

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